Driving While License Suspended
Driving while your license is suspended is a criminal offense. Often, Florida drivers do not realize how harsh the consequences of knowingly driving with a suspended license are. Even if you are not aware of the suspension, you can face administrative penalties. If you are being charged with driving with a suspended license, you should consult an experienced Bradenton traffic violation lawyer. At Hanlon Law, we fight for the rights of the accused in these cases as well as many other criminal proceedings, such as those involving drugs, theft, and violent crimes.Charges of Driving With a Suspended License in Florida
Your license may be suspended for any number of reasons. It can be suspended due to a DUI arrest or conviction, a refusal to test for DUI, drug crime convictions, supplying fraudulent information on a driver's license application, racing on highways, theft convictions, delinquency in making child support payments, a failure to pay fines or court costs, a failure to appear in court, or a failure to maintain continuous coverage on your car insurance.
Many people do not take the suspension of their license seriously, and they may not realize that if they are caught driving while their license is suspended, they will face criminal charges. Florida Statutes section 322.34 provides that driving with a suspended license while knowing of the suspension is a second-degree misdemeanor. That means that if you are convicted, it can result in a maximum of 60 days’ jail time and a $500 fine. You can also be charged under the statute for driving while your license is revoked or cancelled.
If you are caught and convicted a second time, you can face first-degree misdemeanor charges. The maximum penalty is a year in jail. If you are caught and convicted a third time, the result can be felony charges, which are more significant than misdemeanor charges. That means that you can face a maximum of five years in prison or on probation and a maximum fine of $5,000.
If you are on your third offense within a five-year period, you can be designated a Habitual Traffic Offender by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. This status can result in a driver's license revocation for five years. You will not be able to get a hardship license until a year after your last conviction.
Your criminal attorney may be able to mount a strong defense against a charge of driving with a suspended license. As with other crimes, all of the elements of the charge must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, including the fact that you knew of the suspension. In some circumstances, it might be possible to defend on the basis of an invalid traffic stop. Also, we may be able to argue that you were not actually driving. Depending on the particular circumstances, it may be possible to argue that what you were driving was not something considered a "motor vehicle" under the statute or that you were not operating it on a public highway. In some cases, we may be able to show that you believed that a license had been reinstated.
In other cases, it may not be possible to present a credible defense. However, your lawyer may be able to have the charge amended to a civil citation or a charge of not having a valid driver's license. This amendment could reduce the penalties to which you are exposed. Alternatively, it may be possible to argue for reduced penalties, such as no jail time or fines.Contact a Traffic Crime Attorney in the Bradenton Area
Sometimes driving while a license is suspended is a charge tacked onto other charges, such as DUI charges. Although it may not seem like a significant charge, you should take this charge seriously and consult an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. The chances of a defense being successful depend partly on starting your defense as soon as possible, sometimes even before formal charges have been filed. If you have been charged with driving with a suspended license in Bradenton, you should retain Will Hanlon, who has provided aggressive legal representation to the accused since 1994. You can call Hanlon Law at 941.462.1789 or complete our online form. We also represent people charged with domestic violence, sex crimes, white collar offenses, and many other crimes.